Martyn Waghorn has stressed that Derby County’s players know they are the ones that need to step up in the final two games of the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship season.
Derby sit four points clear of the bottom three with two fixtures left to play, while Rotherham United in 22nd spot have three matches left to play.
The season has been an inconsistent one for the Rams, but their fate remains in their own hands.
The side’s final away fixture of the campaign will see them take on Swansea City on Saturday (3pm kick-off), before concluding the season on home turf against Sheffield Wednesday next weekend.
Waghorn, who offers significant experience with over 400 appearances to his name in club football, has admitted Derby’s players are determined to leave everything on the pitch in the final two games.
After a 2-0 home win over Luton Town following the March international break the Rams have lost five matches in a row, and Waghorn knows that run of form needs to change quickly.
“We approach this weekend’s game in the same way we approached the last one - we have to leave everything out there,” Waghorn told RamsTV. “We have to go out there and do everything we can to win the game, we can’t do anything but that.
“We are not just playing for ourselves; we are playing for everyone associated with the club and around the area.
“It is easy for me to say: ‘don’t worry, everything will be ok’, but I would say to the fans that we will be giving everything.
“I know it is difficult because we aren’t getting the best results, we are not scoring millions of goals and we may not be playing the football that everyone wants to watch at times.
“We are in a difficult situation; we are there because of us and no-one else. It is only us who can get ourselves out of it.”
The striker added: “We are doing everything we can. We are working hard on the pitch, the fine details that you look at when you are in these situations and we are doing the best we can.
“It is up to us on Saturday to go out there, run around and do whatever we can and we will try and do our best for everyone at the club.”
Waghorn has admitted the Rams have missed having supporters driving them on over the course of the season.
While not offering their absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse, the 31-year-old believes over a year without supporters has highlighted their importance.
“I don’t think you really appreciate until you are in a difficult situation or you are pushing for something,” Waghorn said.
“For example, last weekend when we were 1-0 up against Birmingham and trying to cling on or push to get over the line, you miss those moments of the roar from a tackle or a block or simple things like goalkeeper catching the ball.
“You just miss the finer things; I think that is kind of where you realise how important the crowd can be and especially this time of the season. It is a big miss for us, on the flip side trying to push you on to get over the line.
“Just in general, kids and families to come out and support the club when the club needs it more than anything. It is a big miss and everyone is looking forward to the fans being back in.”
Waghorn has featured in Derby’s last two matches after a short period out of action with a hamstring injury which he picked up in the win over Luton earlier this month.
After making a quick return to action, he feels in good shape to play his part in the side’s crucial upcoming games.
He said: “I personally feel good, but as a team we know we can be better and we are all striving to get the best out of ourselves going into the big couple of games left.
“Considering how I got injured, I have had a couple of hamstring injuries in the past, the games were running out at that point.
“You just evaluate everything; we are in this position, your season might be over, you need to help the lads and we are short on numbers as it is.
“It was frustrating, but thankfully I managed to come back quicker than I thought thanks to the guys in the medical department.”
Waghorn, who is coming to the end of his third season with Derby, has scored three goals in 30 appearances in the 2020/21 campaign.